Emma Raducanu won her first competitive match in eight months on Monday, defeating world No. 134 Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 4-6 7-5 at the Auckland Classic. In the run-up to the tournament, the former US Open champion stated that she felt “reborn” following an accident that forced her to have surgery on both hands and her left ankle in 2023. She only played nine games last year, and her world ranking dropped to 301.
Raducanu, who was given a wildcard entry into the Auckland Classic, easily won the first set before being pushed back in the second by a tenacious Ruse. The Romanian held three break points in the first game before breaking back in two of the next three games to take the set. Also read: Reaching New Heights: Veronika Kudermetova Claims Second Title at Toray Pan Pacific Open
The Auckland Classic is the ideal warm-up for Raducanu ahead of the Australian Open, when she will have to qualify to reach the main event.
The former British No. 1 led 5-2 in the third set, only for Ruse to rally and force a tiebreaker. But Raducanu stayed hard and eventually won to advance to the next round, where she will face second seed Elina Svitolina. Also read: Rafael Nadal Wins First Competitive Singles Match In A Year
“It’s difficult after having such a long hiatus but I’m grateful to be healthy, I’m grateful to be able to move my body and not bedridden or in a wheelchair,” Raducanu said on court after her win. It’s pretty amazing to just be out here and playing and I’m just really happy to be back on the tour and can’t wait to start this season and carry on hopefully injury-free and healthy.”